Survey: College Hiring Up – Particularly Among Engineering Grads

November 15, 2004 ( - New college graduates with business, engineering, and computer-related degrees have the most promising job outlook this year, according to a new survey.

A news release said the Job Outlook 2005 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that accounting, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, business administration, economics/finance, and computer science top the list of majors employers plan to hire at the bachelor’s degree level. An earlier NACE survey found that employers expect to increase their college hiring in 2004-05 by 13.1% over 2003-04.

“We’re seeing a number of positive indications that the job market for new college graduates is improving,” Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director, said in the news release.

In addition, employers reported plans to reassess their hiring needs more frequently, another indication that they may view the college job market as more robust, according to the news release. The largest group (33.3%) say they will reassess their hiring needs on a quarterly basis. In contrast, last year at this time the largest group, 27.4%, said they would reassess on an annual basis.

Additional survey highlights include:

  • Seven out of 10 respondents expect to increase starting salary offers to new college graduates at the bachelor’s degree level. The average projected increase is 3.7%.
  • At the master’s degree level, responding employers are most interested in business, engineering, and computer-related degrees. At the doctoral level, engineering and computer-related degrees are of most interest to respondents.
  • Just 22.2% of respondents said they expect to hire international students this year. Those with degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, and mechanical engineering have the best chance of attracting an employer’s attention.
  • More than 40% of responding employers have firm plans in place to visit college campuses in Spring 2005 to interview and hire new graduates. In addition, nearly 18% say they won’t make those campus visits in the Spring – they expect to complete their hiring in Fall 2004.

According to NACE, the top 10 degrees in demand at the Bachelor’s Degree level are:

  • Accounting
  • Electrical engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Business administration/management
  • Economics/finance
  • Computer science
  • Computer engineering
  • Marketing/marketing management
  • Chemical engineering
  • Information sciences and systems.